The First Time at the First Place
But I’m not ready to go home yet.
“But you can’t stay here forever.”
I know. But I’m not ready.
I don’t even know what ready means, or what ready looks like, or how ready feels. I just know that this is not ready. Thoughts of returning to the same circumstances that sent me to the hospital in the first place bring on panic attacks. I don’t think that’s ready. When I can’t stop crying whenever I think of going home, I don’t think that’s ready, either. When I shake so much I can’t eat, I suspect that’s also a sign I’m not ready.
“All, right. You can stay for one more day, but only one more day. That’s the best we can offer. You’ll need to use that day for preparing to go home. Can you do that?”
Yes. Okay. I understand. I will.
I do understand. I do. But even so, I don’t think I’ll be ready. At least they offered me one more day. One more day of safety from myself. One more day to breathe freely without fear that I’ll give up on life again. One more day to think about the thinking that led me to thinking that I needed to be in the hospital. One more day to accept the reality of life on the outside. One more day to steel myself for returning to the grief and loneliness. To return to the reality of pain and rejection. Of never-ending sadness. Of emptiness. Of hopelessness.
The Latest Time at a Different Place
The last time I was in the hospital, they sent me home before I was ready.
“We do things differently here. We won’t send you home until you’re ready.”
But last time I was told I just had to get myself ready and I couldn’t stay any longer, even though I was afraid to go home.
“If you feel afraid to go home, then you’re not ready. We won’t send you home until you’re ready.”
How will I know when I’m ready?
“You’ll know when you’re ready. We’ll know when you’re ready. We won’t kick you out, we promise. You can stay here until you’re ready.”
Oh. Okay. Thank you.
Is it weird to say I cried when the doctors told me I wouldn’t be going home for a while? I cried from happiness. I cried from sadness. I cried from sheer exhaustion. I cried from releasing the fear I’d been carrying. The fear of having to return home too soon. Perhaps this time will be the last time if I’m able to stay for enough time to finally discover what ready looks and feels like. What ready actually means.